Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction


by Lois Winston

One of the most common questions authors are asked is, “Where do you get the ideas for your books?” My ideas for characters, scenes, and plots often bloom from actual people and events. Often something will happen in my own life, or an event will occur that I read about in the newspaper or see on the news, and I store it away for future reference, knowing it’s too good not to use in a book.

Case in point: March 6, 2011. My husband and I are watching “Sunday Morning” on CBS. Bill Geist is interviewing a woman by the name of Laura Bell who creates paintings out of dryer lint. Her masterpiece is a 14-foot x 4-foot replica of Leonardo daVinci’s “The Last Supper,” which took her 7 months of lint collecting and 200 hours to create. “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” bought the piece for $12,000. Really. I’m not making this up. You can see a video of the interview here

Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, had debuted two months prior to this interview appearing on television. I had already turned in Death by Killer Mop Doll, the second book in the series and had begun work on Revenge of the Crafty Corpse.

In Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, Lyndella Wegner, a 98-year-old resident of an assisted living facility is a consummate crafter with a penchant for anything X-rated. The moment I saw Bill Geist’s interview of Laura Bell, I knew Lyndella had to create lint paintings. Her piece de resistance is a three-foot tall, two-dimensional reproduction of Michelangelo’s masterpiece, “David,” down to every anatomical detail, minus any censoring of a certain body part.

Now, some might read Revenge of the Crafty Corpse and scoff at the idea of anyone painting with lint. Some readers might think Lyndella is a totally unrealistic character. Painting with dryer lint does sound kind of absurd, doesn’t it? But go back and look at the title of this blog post: Truth is Stranger than Fiction. Laura Bell and her $12,000 check from Ripley’s certainly proves that. 

Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series. She's also published in women's fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Visit Lois at her website or Emma's website, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog.

11 comments:

Kathleen Kaska said...

Enjoyed your post today, Lois. Lint painting; I'm still trying to imagine that. I'm definitely watching that video.

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Kathleen! Lint painting was definitely one of the stranger crafts I've come across.

Rayne said...

Some people are so creative there's no limit to their inventiveness. Who knew we have such fortunes sitting in our dryer lint!
Fictional characters grounded in reality makes them come alive, believable.
Wonderfful blog.

Diana Rubino said...

Very creative! Now I'm curious--going to tune into that video right now!

Kathleen Ernst said...

What an...interesting idea! Sounds like fun.

Mary Frances Roya said...

How creative to use lint like that. Enjoyed your blog. It was fun.

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Rayne, Diana, Kathleen, and Mary Frances!

Gemma Juliana said...

Hi Lois,

I laughed when I read your blog post. I saw that segment about the lint art and was fascinated by it. Give the hobby to a 98 year old woman hot to trot and it sounds totally hysterical! I've got to read this one... my TBR pile is way too high but this is going on it soon. Thanks for the laugh!

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Gemma! Hope you enjoy the book once you whittle down that TBR pile.

Deborah Sharp said...

fun post ... leave it to Lois to turn dryer lint into something amusing (for me, it's just that nasty stuff I have to scrape out of the filter...)

Lois Winston said...

LOL, Deborah! I've never worked with dryer lint. I just stole the idea for Lyndella. I'm with you. It's really nasty stuff, and it makes me sneeze.